The Charlotte News

Monday, April 18, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in China, a million Chinese Communist troops were preparing to cross the Yangtze if the Nationalist Government failed to surrender by the following Wednesday. The Government, meanwhile, was trying to find a way to extend further the deadline, already extended twice by the Communists. Reports indicated that Chiang Kai-Shek was planning to withdraw 300,000 Government troops in the Nanking-Shanghai area and redeploy them for a defensive stand further south. The Communists were reported to have captured another island on Sunday, 45 miles northeast of Nanking, one of several seized in the previous 24 hours.

In Dublin, Ireland, a parade was held in honor of the birth of the Republic of Ireland. Many of the marchers were part of the old I.R.A. Former Premier Eamon Valera, the elder statesman of the Republic, was conspicuously absent. The parade was held on the 33rd anniversary of the Easter Monday uprising against the British, in which Mr. Valera had participated.

Senator Elbert Thomas of Utah stated that he deemed there to be only a "slight" chance that the Congress would complete action on the President's compulsory national health insurance plan during the current session. He said that within the week he expected the President to send to Congress a new, comprehensive health care bill, which included the insurance provision. He expected the bill to be ready for Congressional debate later in the year. Senator Taft was pushing an alternative plan to provide for 1.25 billion dollars in Federal indigent health care subsidies to states and localities over five years.

Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont said that the expense of the proposed bipartisan public housing bill was completely reasonable and worthy of Republican support. It would provide for building 810,000 units of low cost housing over six years and would cost 308 million dollars annually for 40 years, and 500 million dollars in grants to localities and a billion in loans for slum clearance during the ensuing five years. Senator Taft was co-sponsor of the bill.

A special commission recommended to the President that a three-man commission be formed to make recommendations on labor disputes at atomic energy plants.

In Newport News, Va., the keel was laid for the world's largest aircraft carrier, 65 kilotons, capable of handling planes which could carry atom bombs. The carrier was controversial with the Air Force, which believed it invaded their long-range strategic bombing capability and was too costly at 186 million dollars. The super-carrier, dubbed the United States, was expected to be completed by 1952.

In New York, in the trial of the eleven top Communist Party defendants for violation of the Smith Act, a witness who was employed by the Immigration & Naturalization Service testified that at a 1930 meeting of the party convention, a theory was advanced for setting up a "Negro nation" within the United States, to extend from Virginia to the Mississippi Delta. The witness said that he had belonged to the party between 1929 and 1936.

In Newark, N.J., a middle-aged couple were found dead, hanging from a rafter in their cellar a little over a day after the man had been arrested for molesting an 8-year old girl who was sitting beside him the previous Saturday at a local movie theater. They left a suicide note proclaiming the man's innocence.

In Dallas, N.C., a woman who had been shot through the head with a .22 rifle was expected to survive after giving birth prematurely to an infant. The woman was blind from the incident and the attending physician said that she might not recover her sight. Authorities were unaware as yet of the cause or agent of the shooting.

In Fayetteville, the nude body of an unidentified woman was found in a wooded area with her hands tied behind her back, bearing evidence of having been beaten. A black leather handbag contained only an empty billfold, and several empty beer cans lay nearby.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of a man who had the first recorded automobile accident in Charlotte, in 1906, while driving his new Winton, when he collided with a streetcar on S. Tryon Street. He had sought to pass the streetcar when it stopped and the streetcar then proceeded and hit the Winton first with its cowcatcher before plowing into it, throwing the man from the car, after which he was pushed by the car being pushed by the streetcar eight to ten feet up the street, pinning him beneath the car. He thought he was going to die. His collarbone remained out of joint from the accident.

In Oxford, England, John Masefield, 70, Britain's poet laureate, was seriously ill in a nursing home after an attack of the flu. He would yet live until 1967.

On the editorial page, "Difficult Decision" discusses the upcoming mayoral election between incumbent Herbert Baxter and his principal opponent, Victor Shaw. It stresses that the primary power in Charlotte, however, was with the City Council rather than the Mayor. It urges voters to examine carefully therefore the qualifications of the Council candidates, concludes that the voters would choose wisely seven well qualified for the positions.

"A Workable Compromise" tells of the last week of the General Assembly session to be consumed with a decision on how to handle the 30 million dollar postwar surplus fund, whether, as proposed, devoting 26 million of it for teacher salary increases and employment of more teachers to reduce classroom loads, or as part of the 50-million dollar school building program. The State Senate had cut the teacher funding down to five million and voted to use the remaining 25 million for school construction. The matter was now before the House.

The piece deems it wise to use half of the 30 million for teacher salaries and hold in reserve the other half for 1951, in case of a drop in revenue in the meantime.

"New Beer-Wine Law" tells of the General Assembly having passed a law which gave to the State ABC Board the authority to grant beer-selling licenses, with the power to revoke them remaining local. The design was to reduce brawls and disturbances in businesses selling beer. The piece urges that the bill's effect would depend on enforcement to prevent sale by non-licensed vendors. If enforcement would be strict, then an improvement would result.

A piece from the Spartanburg Herald, titled "Is Temperance Winning?" finds that the noticeable drop in the country in liquor consumption was likely the result of the branding of alcoholism as an "affliction" and the unwanted stigma of such, in contrast to the efforts of dry forces for years, without noticeable effect, to stigmatize alcohol consumption on moral grounds and brand the alcoholic a "sinner".

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor looks at the proposed new farm program, discussed the previous week by the editorial column, finds that if it were to do all it claimed, it would imply perpetual motion having been discovered by Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan, as farmers would be guaranteed perpetually high prices while consumers would enjoy lower prices in the market. The heart of the program was providing subsidies to farmers to make up the difference between market price and a "fair price" determined by a formula on perishable produce. The old support prices based on parity would remain the rule on non-perishables, such as tobacco and cotton.

But ultimately, the consumer had to pay for the subsidies in higher prices, dissolving much of the savings, albeit in deferred manner, hidden from the consumer, as no item in the tax schedules would show the cost of the subsidy as ground for an increase. The program was a method of redistribution of wealth as the subsidy went to the relatively few while being paid by the many. And the tax cost for the savings to consumers would be most borne by those in the higher tax brackets.

The piece warns the farmer, however, that he would not receive what amounted to a guaranteed annual living without the prospect of Government control of his farming methods.

Senator George Aiken of Vermont had added that if the Government was going to guarantee farm prices, then it ought also to guarantee industrial prices.

Of course, industry is not typically beset by the vicissitudes of weather. Nor is the country dependent for its physical sustenance on steel.

Drew Pearson tells of Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas relating to Senator James Eastland that the Democratic strategy was to allow the Republicans to continue in a slow filibuster mode to kill the President's program until the summer recess and then to call a special session to pass the President's program, in the meantime informing constituents back home that the reason for the lack of progress was Republican obstructionism.

The President recently declared to a visitor that as long as he was President, the tidelands oil would never be returned to the states.

Senator Taft, "Mr. Republican", had a great effect when recently he called privately for a shift toward more social legislation by his fellow GOP Senators. Senator John Bricker of Ohio was trying to kill the housing bill by tacking onto it an anti-discrimination amendment, seeking to elicit Southern opposition. He wanted to limit debate on the anti-discrimination amendment by joining with liberal Democrats to invoke cloture and divorcing the debate from the housing issue per se, all to the ultimate end of dividing the Democratic party along regional lines. Senators Karl Mundt of South Dakota and George Malone of Nevada supported Senator Bricker. Eventually, Senator Taft stated that welfare without regimentation was part of the Republican tradition and should be supported, especially in the housing, slum clearance, and Federal aid to education legislation. He stressed that without taking care of those in the lowest income brackets, the free enterprise system would be lost. He warned that if the Bricker-Mundt-Malone strategy were followed, there would be no Republican Party left.

Senator Bricker insisted that he had given large sums to charity and did not want to be cast as someone who was against the ordinary people. Mr. Pearson notes that he was affiliated with and heavily influenced by the real estate lobby.

He also notes that part of Senator Taft's housing program was $500 grants to farmers for building outhouses, prompting Senator Joseph McCarthy to ask whether a similar amount could be devoted to provide facilities for female Senators, referring to the effort of Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine to obtain a women's restroom near the Senate chamber.

Joseph Alsop discusses the defection of reactionary Southern Democrats from Administration foreign policy to the side of right wing Northern Republicans to avoid the necessity of higher taxes to finance foreign rearmament. Georgia Senator Walter George of the Foreign Relations Committee was leading this effort. He had supported Senator Taft in his effort to cut ten percent from ERP funding, joined by the most reactionary Southern Senators, Richard Russell of Georgia, Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia, Spessard Holland of Florida, Allen Ellender of Louisiana, Olin Johnston of South Carolina, and John McClellan of Arkansas.

Senator James Eastland of Mississippi was missing from the group, despite his right wing leadership. The difference appeared to be that he was from a state where cotton remained king and thus so, too, did foreign markets for cotton, whereas in the rest of the South, the primary economic concern had shifted to heavy industry and big business, the most reactionary within the business world, also characteristic of the Midwest.

In the early part of the New Deal, the right wing in the South had sided with FDR on both domestic and foreign policy, populism leading them to oppose Wall Street on domestic issues. But as civil rights and labor issues entered the picture, these Southerners deserted on domestic policy but remained loyal on foreign policy, driven by cotton as a centerpiece of the Southern economy. As that economy had shifted, the concern now had become higher taxes to pay for foreign aid, especially rearmament of Western Europe under NATO, creating defections toward isolationism.

Senator Vandenberg could lead the moderate Republicans back to the fold and away from the position of Senator Taft, especially if the President roused the country to a sense of the emergent need for the rearmament, counterbalancing the desertion of the Southerners. But as no one liked paying higher taxes, the President would need to impress upon the country the need for giving NATO teeth as a deterrent to Soviet aggression.

Marquis Childs tells of Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada obstructing the proposed revision to the Displaced Persons Act passed by the previous Congress, which had the effect of discriminating against Jews and Catholics by requiring that 30 percent of the refugees admitted to the country pursuant to it be of agrarian background and 40 percent of Baltic origin. No hearings had yet been held on the substitute bill passed in the House, despite efforts by Republican Senators Irving Ives of New York, Alexander Smith of New Jersey, Homer Ferguson of Michigan, and Wayne Morse of Oregon to push the matter forward.

Senator J. Howard McGrath of Rhode Island, DNC chairman, appeared concerned but was trying to avoid Senator McCarran to ward off political fallout.

Former Senator Chapman Revercomb of West Virginia, defeated the previous November, had championed the original legislation. The new House, under the floor leadership of Representative John McCormack, had passed a more just law at the start of the session. If the Senate enacted a similar bill, 16,000 European refugees per month could be admitted to the U.S., including those who had fled to refugee camps from Soviet-controlled areas since the war through the start of 1949. The old bill allowed only those who had so fled by the end of 1945.

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